Monday, 2 November 2015

Thingummy Bob

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Three stars

Bob has lost something. For this gentleman of a certain age, it might just be his whatsitsname, or it could well be his thingummy. Either way, and even if he can't remember his own name, he's going to make the great escape from the old peoples' home that houses him and get back to where he came from come what may.

Before all that, however, Linda McLean's new play for Lung Ha's theatre company has each member of the five-strong cast introduce themselves to the audience both out of character and in. Our guide is Karen Sutherland as Bob's niece in Australia, Lesley, who gives us an insight into Bob's life in a way that he's not capable of these days. As Bob makes a break for it to a soundtrack of old Elvis Presley and Cliff Richard numbers, his topsy-turvy world also includes a surreal line-up of invisible dogs, would-be superheroes and talking CCTV cameras.

With a spate of plays looking at the effects of Alzheimer's Disease appearing over the last few years, McLean's is probably the most out-there to date, making a virtue of the cast's assorted learning disabilities. Maria Oller's production, presented in association with the Luminate festival of creative ageing, capitalises on this as it taps into the often absurd head-space that Alzheimers sufferers occupy.

While John Edgar's Bob is at the centre of things as he perambulates around Karen Tennent's set of domestically decorated ramps and platforms, it is Sutherland and Emma McCaffrey who drive things, with Mark Howie and Kenneth Ainslie lending support to a play of laughter and forgetting which tours to Inverness and Glasgow this week.

The Herald, November 2nd 2015

ends

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